Tag Archives: social media

Finding Readers, Finding Books

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(a book lover’s social media share)

An interesting social media post recently asked book lovers how they found new books, new authors – a question always of interest to authors like me always trying to land our promotion and marketing efforts where it can have the most impact.

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(Another book lover’s social media share)

Here are some of the other responses:

-friends’ recommendations (on social media… and, I would add, other places since more often than not these last few years of trying not to acquire new books until I can lighten my books-unread shelf, ‘new’ books have been thrust upon me by well meaning friends; and I can’t complain. As for how this affects my own promotional efforts, reader reviews are encouraged and used like those movie tag lines. They have proven especially useful being from a small place with my books receiving scant critical attention comparatively speaking, and, though that’s gotten better, I still welcome readers helping me create buzz by recc’ing a book of mine to readers in their network)

bookempt.gyal4(Yet another book lover’s social media share. credit: bookempt.gyal on instagram)

-reading  the book cover blurb and the first pages (online retail sites have made this easier, useful to me both as a reader and as a researcher building and sharing knowledge here on the site and in other places, but I remember I used to – and still – do this when shopping for or considering physical books. I even know people who, while browsing,  read the end and the middle to get a feel for the book – something the online retail sites have also made easier. I don’t get that part because, hello, spoilers. But I do try to accommodate readers’ need to know how it starts by publishing first pages on my Jhohadli blog)

-book related groups + review requests (this is the interaction part of social media, participating not just plugging, recommending other writers, not just pushing your own product; it’s time consuming but part of building community)

-freebies (as a writer and reviewer, with a blogger on books series, I get a number of requests to read books; and promotional giveaways have only gotten more plentiful in this age of internets.  It’s a bit more challenging to take on these reading assignments for the blog due to that time not being covered, plus it can be stressful, especially as I’ve been on the other side of this freebies for reviews relationship and know how it can feel when the person who copped the freebie doesn’t say word one about your book)

-recommendations on (person mentioned a specific literary platform but really all of them – not to mention #bookstagram #booktube the book blogging community and its many memes, and the myriad goodreads lists not to mention groups on facebook and specialized lists on twitter etc; it’s a lot to keep up with but I try to be in those spaces and try to connect my books with people in those spaces…of course, you have to give to get and that means making recommendations of your own)

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(Yet yet another book lover’s social media share. credit: baby making machine blog)

-Always ask my daughter (lol) – I like this one but this speaks to your real life reading partners and book clubs and the like, the book store employee who recs books he thinks you’ll like based on your reading history …those personal connections… book clubs and bookstores are among my mailing lists but beyond the lists are the relationships. Remember when you were in school and no two of you had a single penny to knock together but someone might have a book and that booked got passed around like mix tapes? How about that relationship with that friend you really see except for when it’s time for another book exchange every time a favourite author drops a new book? book conversations? book groups where there’s as much wine and idle chatter as book deep dives? you know what I mean) … it’s a beautiful thing.

oh gad in walmart posted by hadassa 2012
(book lover’s social media share)

How about you, where do you find your books?… authors, where do you find your readers?

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

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A & B SUMMER READING CHALLENGE GETS “MUSICAL”

Teens in Antigua and Barbuda, this one’s for you! As part of the Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Summer Reading Challenge, Antiguan and Barbudan teens, 12 to 18, are being invited to read Musical Youth, a Best of Books’ teen summer pick, post a musical or otherwise creative review to the social media platform of your choice, and send the link to submissions@caribbeanreads.com flyer final
This is a challenge within a challenge.

You don’t know about the original Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Summer Reading challenge?

Here it is in 50 words or less: Read as many books as you want, write a really-really-really short review of each book read, email your list of books completed and reviews to cushionclub@yahoo.com at the end of August 2015. Maybe win a prize. There are discounts and minimum requirements; search “reading challenge” at the Wadadli Pen website (https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com) go here for details.

The Map Shop and the Best of Books helped compile the reading lists, so you know the books can be sourced locally.

The Best of Books and Cindy’s Bookstore are offering 20 percent discounts to anyone “taking the challenge”. Now, Caribbean Reads Publishing and Joanne C. Hillhouse – publisher and author, respectively – have made the challenge just a little more “Musical”. As Musical Youth, second placed for the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature in 2014, is targeted at teens; they want to know what teens think of this book. This additional prize – sponsored by the publisher and author of Musical Youth – will go to the most creative review.
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Keep it honest: you’re not going to be graded up for gushing over the book if that’s not how you feel. Keep it creative: the internet and social media provide infinite ways for you to express yourself. So, in keeping with the book’s theme and cast of characters who embrace music and creativity, share your review in a way that shines a light on your creativity. Once you’ve posted to your YouTube, Instagram, vine, tumblr, twitter, or wherever, email the link and your contact information to submissions@caribbeanreads.com. Feel free to tag as many people as you want in the meantime. You can tag Hillhouse and CaribbeanReads via any of their social media platforms – but you still need to email the link to submissions@caribbeanreads.com. Check caribbeanreads.com and https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com for more details (oh, you’re already here).

You must be based in Antigua and Barbuda to participate. And remember this is part of the Cushion Club Wadadli Pen Reading Challenge. So, you know what you have to do first: read…and remember, get creative and have fun with it.

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Reading the World: the Caribbean Leg

UPDATED TO ADD THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE FULL INTERVIEW

The world of social media is an amazing thing, connecting people from far flung areas. Know what else does that? Books; which intersects most interestingly with the world of social media via Ann Morgan’s Reading the World blog. A British freelance writer and editor, Ann is using her blog to share her year of literary, not literal, travel to 197 countries.

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ann-shots 6“(It’s been) great fun and I now have friends from all over the planet which is brilliant,” she informed me when I reached out to her from where I live, Antigua.

Social media brought me to Ann’s page, and as a Caribbean writer and reader, I was curious to see how she was covering my region. I wondered how she was finding the experience and what she was discovering about my world and the world-at-large in the process.

“I think I’ve learned to appreciate the value of difference more and the extraordinary variety of cultures we have in our world,” Ann said. She added though, “I’m also very conscious that as I’m only reading one book from each country this year, I mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that I have gained a rounded insight into any particular nation.” I appreciate this comment. It calls to mind Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s TED talk on the danger of a single story, in which she chastised those who make generalizations about the character of a country from a read of a single book, or even a single type of book about that place. Where that place has fewer writers, or fewer opportunities for its writers to enter the mainstream, that danger is more acute; the Caribbean, where, as I know firsthand, opportunities to publish are limited, falls into that category. I was thrilled, therefore, to see that Ann’s choices were unconventional and multi-layered enough to reveal several aspects of ‘the Caribbean story’.

“I think the variety and diversity of life in the Caribbean is something I can appreciate more now,” Ann said. “Here in the rainy old UK we are used to lumping the region together and just thinking of it as a sunny, tropical paradise. However the books I’ve read have showed me that the different nations have strikingly different characteristics: from the tensions between rich and poor in the Bahamas to the playful rivalries between different communities and islands in tiny places like St Vincent and the Grenadines, there’s so much to discover.” Her appetite stoked, she’ll continue sampling Caribbean literature, discovering more and more about its diversity and humanity as she goes.

So far, she’s discovered something of its fun and mystical side.  “I loved the myth about the Snake King as told by the children in Grade 6 at Atkinson School, Bataka, Dominica,” Ann  said. “The story was so rooted in the landscape of the island – with a specific rock formation on the island used as the staircase for the snake to climb out of the ocean. The illustrations also made it a really colourful, joyful book.”

She’ll also continue to discover its bloody history such as “…the brutal acts that took place under the regime of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. These form the backdrop and backstory to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz…it’s amazing that such a vibrant society could emerge from such dark times.”

Diaz’s was one of Ann’s favourite books of the past year. Other favourites were  Bahamian writer Garth Buckner’s Thine is the Kingdom exploring class and identity; Barbados born writer Glenville Lovell’s Song of the Night, of which Ann blogged he “creates a powerful and memorable allegory for the wave of change overwhelming the island”; Grenadian writer’s Merle Collins’ “atmospheric” The Ladies are Upstairs; and Haitian-Canadian writer Dany Laferrière’s I am a Japanese Writer (how’s that for a curveball when it comes to trying to pigeon hole Caribbean literature?). “However, for a story that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and keeps you reading way past bedtime, it would have to be John Crow’s Devil by Marlon James – my Jamaican choice,” Ann said.

The book she found most revealing, though, was an unpublished memoir by Trinidadian writer Vahni Capildeo, One Scattered Skeleton. “She is related to VS Naipaul, so grew up in quite a large shadow, but for her, the biggest obstacle seemed to be the fact that all the books published out there apart from Naipaul’s were from countries like the UK. Her descriptions of how books and formative experiences that we encounter growing up affect the way we read and write are fascinating.” That’s an interesting insight because it is true that most of us grow up, even now, reading books from outside. Ironic, isn’t it; and debilitating, if you’re a young girl, as I was, dreaming of being a writer. Jamaica Kincaid, an Antiguan born writer was perhaps the first time I saw someone from my backyard doing exactly what I wanted to do, telling stories that reflected me. I discovered her in my late teens. Given her celebrity, no surprise that she made Ann’s reading list. “Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid also has some fascinating things to say about the legacy of British colonialism,” she said.

One telling thing in Ann’s responses is that she found no formula to Caribbean fiction. Thematically, stylistically, tonally, they were as diverse as the countries and writers, themselves, as diverse as we who live here know we are.

“There is certainly no lack of stories to tell,” Ann said, “and publishers looking for fresh voices will find plenty of them in the region.” Hear that, publishers?

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As for you, readers, remember you don’t need a passport to travel. Like Ann discovered, “Reading books from other countries and cultures is one of the easiest, richest and cheapest ways of experiencing the world from other perspectives.”

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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